Stephen King documentary, King on Screen, dives into the most adapted author.
It all started with ‘Carrie.’ The Brian De Palma-directed adaptation of the Stephen King classic. The film opened the floodgates to other movies and TV specials based on the acclaimed author’s work. Next, filmmaker Daphné Baiwir decided to jump into the minds of the filmmaking auteurs who have ventured to bring King’s work to the screen. The result is a well-crafted documentary with an impressive number of directors who have each significant devoted chunks of their careers adapting King’s work.
Yes, some are notably absent (such as De Palma himself, Rob Reiner, and John Carpenter). But that shouldn’t take away from those who ARE there, like Frank Darabont, Mike Flanagan, and Taylor Hackford, to name a few. These filmmakers visibly gush about King’s work and experiences with him. A connecting thread becomes immediately apparent: to properly direct King’s work, you have to be a fan in the first place.
Baiwir received King’s blessing to create the documentary.
Unfortunately, King is absent from the film, not including various behind-the-scenes recordings of him making cameos or visiting sets. This is purposeful on Baiwir’s part. By focusing too much on King himself, you take away from the purpose of the documentary: to highlight the filmmakers who adapted his work and their creative process.
Fans familiar with King adaptations will find familiar stories here, such as King’s aversion to Stanley Kubrick’s vision of ‘The Shining’ and his propulsion to write a screenplay how he saw fit. In addition, the importance of ‘Misery’ and ‘The Shawshank Redemption’ is properly explored since the recognition these films received from the Academy made the perception of King adaptations much more than traditional pulpy horror.
The most important inclusion in the film is Frank Darabont. Darabont has notably withdrawn from Hollywood in recent years, but his work directing ‘The Shawshank Redemption,’ ‘The Green Mile’ and ‘The Mist’ is paramount to King’s work on screen. He’s a common thread through the film, and it’s inspiring to see just how pumped he gets about working on Stephen King projects.
I give King on Screen 3.5 out of 5 stars. Fans of Stephen King are a lively bunch. So many of them eat, sleep and breathe King’s work, and they know everything there is to know about him. There likely won’t be much new information for those fans in this documentary, but that doesn’t take away from the lovely craft and pacing. The film is bookended with some fun scenes that contain, according to Baiwir, over 300 King easter eggs. We screened this film at Fantastic Fest 2022 and hope it will be available to the public soon. Do you Vouch for it? Read more Reviews on Nerdtropolis and Subscribe to our YouTube.